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Hendersons is a well known vegetarian restaurant in Hanover street about 10-15 minutes walk from the city centre serving fantastic food in a relaxed atmosphere. There are two sections in the restaurant, downstairs is a relaxed restaurant with canteen service ideal for lunchtime dining with friends. The bistro is upstairs and is more formal, I have never visited this section but it sounds like it would be good for a romantic meal or a more formal occasion.
You don't need to be vegetarian to enjoy dining at Hendersons, the food is excellent so carnivores will not miss the meat and veggies or vegans will be relieved to have a massive range of dishes to choose from instead of just one or two. In the restaurant you grab a tray and head along the service counter and order whatever catches your eye, dishes which need to be cooked will be brought over to the table.
The breadth of dishes on the menu is really good. Someone looking for a light meal might plump for home made soup with bread for £3.50, the soup of the day uses seasonal vegetables and the chunky vegetable soup with is on the menu every day comes in a huge bowl with a nice selection of chunky veg in a delicious broth. A more substantial meal which Hendersons is well known for is their own blend of veggie haggis with clapshot and gravy. Commercially prepared veggie haggis can be very bland but this mix of pulses and minced vegetables is nicely spiced and although you can't compare it with meaty haggis is still very tasty.
The menus also has an international flavour to it with Indian curries, Moroccan stew, Mexican enchiladas and Italian lasagne on offer, anyone who thinks that vegetarian food is boring or bland will soon change their mind when they sample the colourful and flavoursome dishes in Hendersons.
Hendersons is probably best known for the salad bar, salads can either be served as small side dishes or as a main meal. The range here is fantastic and includes courgette, mangetout and mushroom, rice salads, beansprouts with tofu and fresh beetroot with watercress. The blends of ingredients are imaginative and they put together combinations that you would not think would work well together and they are all delicious.
A range of desserts will make your mouth water, choose from warm puddings like cherry pie or grab a slice of one of the many fresh baked cakes.
Prices range from around £3-£4 for starters or light meals to around £7-£9 for a main meal and around £2 for a portion of salad or a cake which is reasonable for central Edinburgh for the quality of food that is served. The restaurant is also licensed so you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal.
The staff in Hendersons are friendly and are happy to answer questions about the food they sell and are also happy to let a group of friends sit for hours chatting providing it is not too busy. It is the laid back feel that draws me back to Henderson's, seating downstairs is on cushioned sofas along the wall or at traditional wooden tables and chairs and it feels like a really homely place to spend some time.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan visiting Edinburgh or even if you just fancy trying something different then Hendersons is one of the best places for you to eat a hearty and healthy meal.
I visited Henderson's for the first time last week and was blow away. My Dad used to go there when he was a student so we indulged him in a little nostalgia trip and boy, am I glad we did!
We ate downstairs in the canteen style bit (there is a table service bistro upstairs) and at first glance I found it a little intimidating. You have to queue up, grab a tray and then order/point at what you would like. However, the staff were amazing. The two girls who helped us were chatty, knowledgeable and patient - letting us change our order several times! We paid for everything up front and were given dessert tokens to use later.
There are loads of different shapes, sizes and styles of tables in various "rooms". We opted for one tucked up at the back. The tables had plenty of room and the seating was comfortable. There was some live music, set at just the right level for talking over and the musicians were very accommodating - one even let my sister have a go on his fiddle! Check out the gallery on the top floor too, it's small but a lovely space with interesting exhibitions.
Now, the food. Well, it was gorgeous. We are not vegetarians and although we don't eat meat with every meal, we are new to the nut roast. We tried the nut roast, mushroom and brie risotto and the veggie lasagne and they were all delicious. And I have to say the portions were more than large enough. I managed to stuff in some cherry pie with fromage frais and my partner had the most exquisite creme brulee before we collapsed with over-full bellies.
It's not cheap, but it's not that expensive either - we had 4 main meals, a side salad, 2 glasses of wine, 2 beers and 4 desserts for about £60. And they let us sit around for ages. Perfect.
Hendersons was the first Veggie restaurant in Edinburgh and used to be the "place to be seen". Now that others have challenged thier reign I feel that they are needing to have a look at thier menu's and prices. They are expensive aprox £8 for a small portion and I emphasise the word small. I also have found thier dishes to be tasteless. On the bright side the place has a good atmosphere and you feel people go there to chill not to pose! They decor is original and fresh, the seating is comfortable and the staff are friendly but hey its the food we go for. So until the prices either go down or the quality goes up I'm going to the Kalpna (Indian Veggie)